Jacob Adkison, MSN, DNP & Charity Keplinger, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C
Background: Daily calorie restriction regimens are still the most common diet strategies implemented for weight loss. [2,3] In the recent years, intermittent fasting (IMF) has gained popularity among some of the easier diets to follow.
Objective: The objective of this study is to use the available data on short- and long-term effects of intermittent fasting, either by time restricted feeding or alternate day fasting and help healthcare providers decide on which patients should be recommended IMF as a dietary option.
Study design: Searched Google Scholar, CINAHL, PubMed and Cochrane databases for evidence-based literature on intermittent fasting. Included studies: non-religious intermittent fasting for the purpose of health benefits. Excluded studies: intermittent fasting for religious reasons. Outcomes measured include systolic BP, weight loss, insulin resistance, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers. Targeted audience: healthcare providers.
Results: Results from adult human randomized controlled trials show individuals who did short term IMF had a drop in SBP by 9.67 ± 1mmHg (p
Conclusion: According to these findings, even a 5-10-week period of IMF can reduce systolic blood pressure levels, total lipid profile and inflammatory markers. Short term IMF can also increase insulin resistance making it favorable among prediabetic and diabetic individuals. Three months or greater of consecutively fasting can reduce systolic blood pressure levels, total lipid profile and inflammatory markers at a steady state. The most effective way of losing weight in overweight populations is to incorporate IMF with exercise as the health benefits are greater (increase HDL levels). IMF long term stabilizes cardiac risk factors (lipids, BP) while further decreasing HA1c levels and weight loss. Even though intermittent fasting might not be ideal for everyone and further research must be done on risks vs benefits for an individual patient, IMF is an ideal dietary option that should be recommended by healthcare providers for men and women who are of normal weight, overweight or have type II diabetes mellitus and are interested in lowering their insulin resistance, lipid profile, and cardiovascular risk.
Keywords: Intermittent fasting, diet, healthcare providers, time restricted feeding, cardiovascular risk, obesity